Pennywise makes final appearance

The movie poster for “IT Chapter Two” features the clown Pennywise with his signature red balloons.

This article may contain spoilers for this movie.

Clowns: some people love them, most people fear them. One of the creepiest clowns in cinema, Pennywise, played by actor Bill Skarsgård, has made his final debut in his last installment, “IT Chapter Two.”

“IT Chapter Two” is a follow-up to 2017’s “IT.” Now, as grown adults, the kids of Derry, Maine, must defeat the supernatural presence plaguing their hometown once and for all.

The film begins with two men, a couple, enjoying the local fair, when a group of homophobic townspeople verbally harass them. The townspeople follow the couple as they leave the fair and brutally assault them, throwing one of the men off the bridge that they stand on and into the river below.

The man in the water, confused, sees a helping hand on the side of the river and reaches for it. That hand proves to be more harm than help, however, as the hand belongs to Pennywise. As the second man makes his way to the opposite side of the river, he catches a glimpse of his lover, presumably safe on the other side with the clown. Pennywise then rips the heart out of the man’s chest with his mouth, and a flood of red balloons buries them out of sight.

Mike, the only kid to have stayed in Derry, realizes what has happened and calls the rest of the Loser Squad to come home.

While “IT Chapter Two” ties up the loose ends of the previous film, it lacks the suspense and mystery that the first movie captured. Since the main goal of the characters is to defeat “It,” the three hours are filled with flashbacks, jump scares and a mediocre ending.

Each of the remaining six members of the Loser Squad has their own side quest to find an “artifact” from their past so that they can remember their time in Derry and destroy It. These sequences become repetitive very quickly. The basic format goes: the character arrives at the location, flashback to childhood, the character finds the artifact, jump scare, and character goes back to the meeting spot.

Another returning character, Henry Bowers, their childhood bully, is practically irrelevant to the plot of the story.

He only shows up twice as a jump scare attacker and is easily killed off by Richie in his second appearance.

As the film reaches its conclusion, the Loser Squad faces another one of Pennywise’s tricks, as he separates the group and makes them face their past demons.

The scenes do not lack in quality, but the quantity is the true killer. Being an almost three-hour movie, the idea feels overplayed and unexciting by the last sequence.

The ending, although not the worst, feels a bit ridiculous compared to the rest of the film.

Now at the final battle with It, Mike realizes that It has to follow the rules of physics, meaning he must be small to fit in small places.

The original plan is to lead him into the tunnels from where they came, but then he realizes they can make It “feel” small. They then bombard It with insults and demeaning words, making him shrink until he is small enough to rip his heart out. With little to no illusion to the fact that It can be hurt by words, it feels a bit like a “noble” or cop-out ending.

While the plot feels diluted, the performances of some of the actors saved this movie from being poor-quality. Bill Hader, who plays Richie, did a phenomenal job of becoming a realistic, humorous character within a horror setting. It is easy to become a comic relief character who simply cracks a joke here or there to ease the audience of tension, but Richie felt more like the “funny guy” of the group. His fear and anxiousness felt just as compelling as the crass, joking lines he is known for.

As expected, Skarsgård did a marvelous job portraying the dancing clown. The mannerisms perfectly walk the line of creepy yet compelling, only becoming horrific when it is too late for the victim. The new Pennywise has quickly become a modern classic within the horror genre, thanks to Skarsgård.

Overall, the movie was a decent ending to the two-part series, yet lacked the plot and energy to make it as a standalone film. Predictable jumpscares, repeated plot structure, and unnecessary details bogged down the already-lengthy production. If not for Hader and Skarsgård’s stellar performances, the second “IT” film would not have floated, too.